Time to make the bread…

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The Market isn’t until Saturday, but the bread making begins on Thursday. To get the light, fluffy texture in the baguettes and the best flavor, the dough spends a lot of time developing. Bill makes a small amount of dough on Thursday, which is called the “preferment.” On Friday morning, more flour is added, then I do lots of stretching and folding throughout the day to help chewy gluten develop. In the evening, Bill has a complicated choreography of shaping, resting, and reshaping before the bread is cooked. The dance continues during cooking with precise timing and the addition of steam, to help create the perfect crust.

We think all the work and attention makes a fantastic baguette! Repeat customers seemed to agree, with multiple bread-lovers saying the devoured an entire baguette in one sitting. (No judgment here! We do it all the time!) Baguettes will be available at the Zionsville Farmers’ Market this week!

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Flighty Amelia, who lays blue eggs

This is Amelia – named for her early interest in flying over obstacles that the other chicks would walk around. Amelia, and her puffy-cheeked daughters, lay blue eggs. She was bred from Araucanas and Ameraucanas – two breeds of chicken that originated in South America. Amelia passes on her blue eggs and feathered faces to her chicks, but, so far, feather color seems to be dominated by our white Wyandotte roosters. We all hope you enjoy the uniquely colored eggs!

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Heirloom Popcorn: Cherokee Long Ear

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Our favorite popcorn is a pretty, heirloom variety called Cherokee Long Ear. The ears are gorgeous and the popped corn has a delightful nutty flavor that is delicious with just a sprinkle of salt. The variety was developed by members of the Cherokee Nation, likely from corn acquired through trade with other native groups. It is still grown today, thanks to the work of dedicated conservationists, and is loved by gardeners across the country. Cherokee Long Ear popcorn is prolific and relatively easy to grow, perhaps because it was developed in America before the use of heavy machinery and chemical fertilizers. The naturally tight husks protect the ears from pests, and the short stalks don’t make much demand on the land.

The hardest part of growing popcorn is the waiting…we pick the dried ears of corn in late October. Then, we wait. Oh, how we wait! After picking, the kernels have to dry even more before they will pop. The beautiful ears sit on rack near our wood stove, begging to be eaten – a cozy treat during the darkest days of winter. We know…we know…they they won’t be dry enough to pop until February or March, and yet we always attempt at test batch (which always fails) around the winter Solstice. When we’re brave enough to try again in early spring, we are rewarded with the yummiest, prettiest snack that also makes is feel great because we are helping preserve a bit of delicious history.

We’ll have bags of popcorn at the Zionsville Farmers’ Market starting on Saturday, May 16.

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The waiting!! Failed popping from New Year’s Eve (left). Success on March 4! (right)

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Getting Ready!

There is just one week left until Saw-whet Farm attends our very first Farmers’ Market! Saying we’re “excited” is a huge understatement. We’ll be at the Zionsville Farmers’ Market every Saturday, from May 16 until the end of September. Eggs are being collected, bread will be baked, greens will be harvested, and giddiness will abound.

Look for a post soon about the heirloom popcorn we’ll have available, but in the meantime, you can learn more about us, our philosophy, and our chickens on this site, and you can follow Saw-whet Farm on Instagram.

See you very soon!
– JoAnna

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